Have you ever considered purchasing the best lens for car photography?
If you are a commercial or freelance photographer or someone genuinely interested in the automotive industry, the chance is that you have.
One of the most popular niches for both professional and hobby photography is the automotive one.
Since it takes high-end gear to capture amazing photos of any vehicle, photographers need to invest a hefty amount of money in cameras and lenses. Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t offer many useful buying guides in this regard.
Since I occasionally like to capture images of sports cars, I have decided to compile a comprehensive buying guide to help fellow photographers to obtain the best possible optics for themselves.
Fujifilm has an optical design of 14 elements in 10 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 29° to 8.1°, with a minimum focus distance of 3.61 feet, and a maximum magnification of 0,18x.
The lens also sports optical image stabilization. One of the reasons why I included it in the best lens for car photography is the beautiful bokeh effect it produces.
Although it is the slower lens in terms of aperture with less blur potential, it still offers rock-solid results in the long end. Another awesome point is the complete lack of hot spots, which means that it is a great candidate for mounting filters.
I also like optical image stabilization which has always gotten me good results. It is worth noting that I got great results at 200 mm with 1/20th second from my hands. The overall image quality is superior, and the lens produces sharp results across the frame, without any issues with chromatic aberrations and vignetting (which do occur at the extreme ends).
Focus is another excellent point. It is quite responsive and accurate, and the noise level is acceptable.
The combination of OIS and fast focus make a good compromise over a relatively narrow aperture when shooting under darker conditions (which is often a situation when photographing car interiors). The overall design of the lens is good, with nice finishing touch and solid construction.
- Fast focus
- Narrow aperture
Sigma optically consists of 13 elements in 10 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. It has an angle of view of 109.7° to 70.7°, and a minimum focus distance of 9.45 inches, with a maximum magnification of 0,15x.
It lacks optical image stabilization, but its solid aperture of an f/3.5, with the Hypersonic motor, ensures outstanding photographic performance under dim lighting. One of the key factors that have influenced me to put these optics on the best lens for car photography list relates to the focal length.
Although it is versatile to cover a wide range that it can fit into the frame, it doesn’t fall under the “fish-eye” lens category, so the lines remain straight, without too much of a corner vignetting. Since it is the lens for car photographers, I suggest using it to capture the main subjects (dashboard, steering wheel, speedometer, transmission box) within the picture center, because there could be side vignetting.
The aperture of an f/3.5 is solid. Although it is not the widest on the market, I didn’t have problems taking pictures during darker hours or from the inside of a car cabin. The focus is stable and accurate, and it responds quite well.
The lens is relatively heavy, but the general design is great, and it feels solid in hands Additional plus is a petal hood that helps in reducing sun flare, along with a padded lens case which is nice to have.
- Fast focus
- Solid aperture
- Lack of OIS
The third candidate offers an optical design of 17 elements in 12 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 76° to 11° 30′, with a minimum focus distance of 1.48 feet, and a maximum magnification of 0,23x.
It has optical image stabilization that is beneficial for both handheld and telephoto distances, and it comes in handy when you consider the maximum telephoto distance.
The design of this Nikon’s optics is one of the reasons why I included it on the best lens for car photography list. I specifically like the zoom control ring which offers a resistance that gives the extra level of control.
Furthermore, the focus ring action is quite good, it operates smoothly, and the overall design of the lens is great, with a nice finishing touch and strong materials. The versatility of the focal length in combination with OIS and solid aperture is sufficient to make photos pop, even under low light situations.
The general image quality is great. The lens can produce sharp results, at all focal lengths, with a minimum amount of distortion and lens vignetting in corners.
Moreover, the aperture makes it easy to capture sharp images, and even at the maximum opening, it creates solid results. The only drawback goes to chromatic aberrations and flares that are visible under certain lighting.
- Versatile focal length
- Strong design
- Fast focus
- Aperture could be wider
Canon has an optical design of seven elements in six groups, with eight rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 46 degrees, with a minimum focus distance of 1,48 feet, and a maximum magnification of 0,15x.
Although it doesn’t have optical image stabilization, the presence of a hypersonic motor and a fast aperture ensures a rock-solid performance in terms of image sharpness, even under challenging light conditions.
These optics also lack official weather-sealing, but the general build quality is exquisite, and it can withstand dust and rain with ease. I included this Canon on the best lens for car photography list mainly due to its focal length and the aperture that both work in symbiosis to deliver a magnificently shallow depth of field. It comes in handy when you want to focus on the car’s rims or spoilers while blurring the background.
On the other hand, for the sharpest results, I recommend staying a few notches lower since it allows one to frame more with increased sharpness. I also used a circular polarizing filter and it produces rock-solid images without a harsh contrast.
The color transmission is phenomenal, with vibrant colors. The lens also doesn’t distort images, and I am yet to notice any corner vignetting. It also manages flare and ghosting. The only “drawback” is the lack of zoom, but since most commercial car photography (that doesn’t include racing) is done from proximity, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
- Wide aperture
- Fast focusing
- Color transmission
- No zoom
- Lack of OIS
The last optics on the list has an optical design of nine elements in eight groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 29,8 degrees, with a minimum focus distance of 2,62 feet, and a maximum magnification of 0,13x. Although it lacks optical image stabilization, its fast aperture makes sure that results are impeccable even under challenging light conditions.
One of the reasons why I put it on the best lens for car photography list is the double linear motor system since it ensures responsive, silent, and accurate focusing. Another vital point touches the design and ergonomics, and it is a direct control with the programmable focus hold button, and the auto & manual focus switch.
The overall image sharpness I was able to get with this lens is next to perfect, with the combination of strong contrast and excellent color transmission.
At all apertures, images were sharp, and the bokeh was creamy and symmetrical. If you intend to shoot moving cars I recommend using continuous autofocus since it will produce much sharper and clean results.
The aperture is wide enough to ensure high-quality work under dim lighting, and I was able to keep the shutter speed quite fast while retaining the low ISO values. Design-wise, the lens offers solid finish touch with relatively sturdy materials.
- Fast aperture
- Excellent focus
- Overall sharpness
- Lack of OIS
To make sure you can capture mesmerizing automotive pictures, you should ensure that you are getting the best lens for car photography. As outlined in the article above, there are many variables one should account for when picking the best one for the job.
Regardless of that, no matter what style do you prefer, or if you are a professional or enthusiast; picking any of the lenses from the list will make sure that your car images are noticed.
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